Aztecs hope to rebound
from tough seasons

Preview of Hawaii opponents

LAST of 13 parts

These Chads hang together
Bulldogs lose opener

By Dave Reardon

San Diego State has replaced Brigham Young as the team Hawaii just can't find a way to beat. The Aztecs' new coach, Tom Craft, will try to make it 10 victories in a row against UH on Dec. 7 at Aloha Stadium.

Craft is new to his job, but not the Aztecs. He quarterbacked the team to an 18-4 record in 1975-76, and posted 38, 40 and 56 points as SDSU offensive coordinator in victories against Hawaii from 1994 to '96.

His job is to rebuild a program that went 3-8 last year and 2-5 in the Mountain West for a third straight losing season.

"It is special to go back to your alma mater where you have real affection and genuine emotional ties," Craft said. "I know what it will take for us to have the kind of program that we all want for San Diego State. We will be successful."

Success almost became that much more difficult, as the Aztecs were tagged with four minor violations by the NCAA for missteps including illegal mandatory practices. SDSU dodged probation, but the NCAA will surely be keeping a close eye on the school's future doings in the area of institutional control.

Things are less ominous on the field. Junior quarterback Adam Hall (6-feet-3, 215 pounds), a transfer from Texas, looks like he's ready to take control. He completed 16 of 23 passes for 218 yards and four touchdowns in a scrimmage last week.

Hall has a big and talented target in Kassim Osgood (6-5, 210); he's also a transfer and set Division I-AA records at Cal Poly, where he was an All-American.

Freshman Michael Franklin (5-7, 170) is establishing himself as a threat at running back despite his lack of size.

The offensive line is anchored by two returning starters, center Johnathan Ingram (6-2, 300) and right tackle Brendan Darby (6-7, 290).

Defensive returning starters are hard to find, except at cornerback, where Ricky Sharpe (6-1, 190) and Jeff Shoate (5-10, 180) are solid. End could be another strong point, where Ryan Iata (6-5, 270) is among three experienced players.

Brian Simnjanovski (6-3, 220) averaged 43.6 yards a punt last year and was a candidate for the Ray Guy Award.

"We will have to make special teams a positive factor for us," Craft said. "We just aren't good enough on both sides of the ball just to play neutral on special teams. We will be aggressive."

San Diego State

All-time record: 442-322-32

Against Hawaii: 15-7-2

Now you know: Former San Diego State star Marshall Faulk scored five touchdowns against the Rainbows in 1991, tying the UH opponent record set by Long Beach State's Terry Metcalf in 1970. ... Aztec second-team freshman cornerback Jacob Elimimian is the brother of Warrior starting sophomore cornerback Abraham Elimimian.

UH Athletics

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